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Indirect Sampling to Measure Conflict Violence: Trade-offs in the Pursuit of Data That Are Good, Cheap, and Fast

Romesh Silva and Megan Price. “Indirect Sampling to Measure Conflict Violence: Trade-offs in the Pursuit of Data That Are Good, Cheap, and Fast.” Journal of the American Medical Association. 306(5):547-548. 2011. © 2011 JAMA. All rights reserved.


When It Comes to Human Rights, There Are No Online Security Shortcuts

Patrick Ball. When It Comes to Human Rights, There Are No Online Security Shortcuts, Wired op-ed, August 10, 2012. Wired.com © 2013 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.


10MM Images from Guatemala’s National Police Go Online: Disappearances, STD Experiments, More


Documents of war: Understanding the Syrian Conflict

Megan Price, Anita Gohdes, and Patrick Ball. 2015. Significance 12, no. 2 (April): 14–19. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2015.00811.x. © 2015 The Royal Statistical Society. All rights reserved. [online abstract]


Megan Price Elected Board Member of Tor Project

Today The Tor Project announced that it has elected a new Board of Directors, and among them is HRDAG executive director Megan Price. The Tor Project is a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes online privacy and provides software that helps users opt out of online tracking. Megan and Patrick have long maintained that encryption and privacy are essential for enabling human rights work. Patrick's ideas are described in Monday's FedScoop story about encryption, human rights, and the U.S. State Department. “Human rights groups depend on strong cryptography in order to hold governments accountable," says Patrick. "HRDAG depends on local human ...

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Mailing List Subscription We use Mailchimp to help us keep track of community members who want to stay informed about what HRDAG is doing and thinking. If you self-subscribe to our list, we will never share your contact information. We will never subscribe anyone who does not explicitly agree to a subscription.  Over the course of a year, we mail quarterly letters and fundraising letters, as well as one or two updates as events demand. If, during the course of a fundraising campaign, you make a donation, we will do our best to remove you from the remainder of fundraising mailings that year. We may use your contact information to invite you to ...

The Demography of Conflict-Related Mortality in Timor-Leste (1974-1999): Empirical Quantitative Measurement of Civilian Killings, Disappearances & Famine-Related Deaths

Romesh Silva and Patrick Ball. “The Demography of Conflict-Related Mortality in Timor-Leste (1974-1999): Empirical Quantitative Measurement of Civilian Killings, Disappearances & Famine-Related Deaths” In Statistical Methods for Human Rights, J. Asher, D. Banks and F. Scheuren, eds., Springer (New York) (2007)


HRDAG Drops Dropbox

On Wednesday, April 9, the file hosting service Dropbox announced the addition of Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, to their Board of Directors, citing the need for “a leader who could help us expand our global footprint.” In response to this announcement, HRDAG requested (and rapidly received) a refund for our recent purchase of Dropbox for Business, and will drop the use of their service entirely. Patrick Ball, HRDAG’s Executive Director stated: “As a human rights organization, we find Condoleezza Rice's complicity in the serious human rights abuses of the Bush administration very worrying. ...

Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict

ed. by Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff. Oxford University Press. © 2013 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

The following four chapters are included:

— Todd Landman and Anita Gohdes (2013). “A Matter of Convenience: Challenges of Non-Random Data in Analyzing Human Rights Violations in Peru and Sierra Leone.”

— Jeff Klingner and Romesh Silva (2013). “Combining Found Data and Surveys to Measure Conflict Mortality.”

— Daniel Manrique-Vallier, Megan E. Price, and Anita Gohdes (2013). “Multiple-Systems Estimation Techniques for Estimating Casualties in Armed Conflict.”

— Jule Krüger, Patrick Ball, Megan Price, and Amelia Hoover Green (2013). “It Doesn’t Add Up: Methodological and Policy Implications of Conflicting Casualty Data.”


14 Questions about Counting Casualties in Syria

In early 2012, HRDAG was commissioned by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to do an enumeration project, essentially a count of all of the reported casualties in the Syrian conflict. HRDAG has published two analyses so far, the first in January 2013, and the second in June 2013. In this post, HRDAG scientists Anita Gohdes, Megan Price, and Patrick Ball answer questions about that project. So, how many people have been killed in the Syrian conflict? This is a complicated question. As of our last report, in June 2013, we know that there have been at least 93,000 reported, identifiable conflict-related casualties. The ...

Reflections on Data Science for Real-World Problems

Trina Reynolds-Tyler's internship at HRDAG helped her use data science to find patterns in state-sanctioned violence.

Skoll World Forum 2018

Illuminating Data's Dark Side: Big data create conveniences, but we must consider who designs these tools, who benefits from them, and who is left out of the equation.

Reflections: The People Who Make the Data

HRDAG associate Miguel Cruz has an epiphany. All those data he’s drowning in? Each datapoint is a personal tragedy, a story both dark and urgent, and he’s privileged to have access.

To predict and serve?

Kristian Lum and William Isaac (2016). To predict and serve? Significance. October 10, 2016. © 2016 The Royal Statistical Society. 

Kristian Lum and William Isaac (2016). To predict and serve? Significance. October 10, 2016. © 2016 The Royal Statistical Society. 


Protecting the Privacy of Whistle-Blowers: The Staten Island Files

HRDAG built a machine-learning tool to strip the raw data of any potentially identifying information such as names and court case numbers. There was no "acceptable error rate."

HRDAG’s Year in Review: 2020

Beyond Statistics highlights how we’ve been able to provide clarity on issues related to the pandemic, police misconduct, and more.

HRDAG’s Year End Review: 2019

Enjoy this look at our highlights from the past year, made possible by our generous funders.

Coming soon: HRDAG 2019 Year-End Review

The online version of the 2019 Year-End Review will appear in January 2020.            

HRDAG’s Year End Review: 2018

Reflecting on our work and identifying the highlights that illustrate HRDAG's priorities and successes.

Herb Spirer, 1925 – 2018

Herb led and mentored a generation of statisticians working in human rights.

Our work has been used by truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, and non-governmental human rights organizations. We have worked with partners on projects on five continents.

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